Thanks for letting me host, J.L.!
“We are all pawns in someone else’s game.”
No one knows this better than Violet Phillips. When her beloved mentor goes missing, she suspects murder, which sends her spiraling out of control and away from the stable life she has built for herself. Soon, her past will begin seeping out with a vengeance.
“I will teach you how this game is played.”
Self-destruction threatens to consume Violet when a handsome neighbor that has been watching her from afar intervenes on her behalf. Shepard Leone may be six years younger, but it does not stop him from seducing her ears as well as her heart.
“Fascinating how much life can change in twenty-four hours.”
When Violet is forced to go down a dark road into a past where she must confront the demons that nearly destroyed her, will she be unable to deviate? Struggling with the loss of her missing friend, Shepard will find a way in and reawaken desires that she thought were forever lost. But Violet never forgets that if you are not careful, distractions will be your undoing.
Now THIS is a frickin' frackin' mother effin' BOOK, people!
Not what I expected in that it blessedly strays from formulaic romance, uniquely moves from chapter to chapter in non-linear patterns and underlying the relationship arcs percolates a mystery slowly and quietly destroying our heroine's life. Who did what and why? Who's a good guy, who's a bad guy? Can anyone in this blasted book be trusted??? J.L. requires the reader to actually think a little bit, pay attention and whatever you do, don't blink.
Violet is a mess and has been from quite a young age. I can't even begin to go into the reasons, not only because it would be exhausting lol, but because I want you to read it and find out. She is also ferociously intelligent. It was refreshing to read a female lead who has a career goal other than "quaint boutique owner," "office assistant," "elementary school teacher," or "singer/songwriter" (guilty ). She's a scientist and this, it turns out, gets her into loads of trouble.
But not before she falls for Shepard, a mere babe at 21, whose p.o.s. father lives next door and whom Shep visits on his breaks from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN (my old stomping grounds!). Despite Vy's slightly unsavory past, their love story is innocent and lovely and J.L. writes it with tenderness.
Oh but ya know, can't have nuthin nice, this girl. The lovebirds are separated quite dramatically and eventually in saunters Connor, demon spawn first love, to provide some twisted anger-fuckery and another heaping dose of heartbreak before all is said and done. Booooooo! But here, J.L. writes this relationship with thick, broad strokes of darkness. You know it's doomed almost from minute one.
How this book ends will bend your mind and have you screaming, "NO, I REFUSE TO BELIEVE IT!!!" Brilliantly, suspensefully, artistically written. I think my heart stopped.
AND NO CLIFFHANGER (thank God for epilogues)!!!
Much of what I loved about this story is how many points in which I could personally relate to it that many other readers simply won't. The fact that Shepard is a violinist and the first instrument I learned to play was violin. That he attends college in Nashville, TN as did I. That he's an Italian boy (paisan!). That Violet loves her a good soak in a big ass tub, like I do. That if something is old and pretty, she likes it, as do I. Her love for things with historical significance. Her inability to let go of her past and self-destruct because of it (though I think I've broken the cycle, thank God). I simply enjoyed all the different personal surprises that popped up for me in this story, and there's no way J.L. ever could've known it would happen. Stuff like that is kinda creepy and way cool.
So in the end, I loved this book and I am absolutely a new fan of J.L. Brooks and anxiously await what she comes up with next. AND it gets my first five smooch review ever. Get. This. Book.
Rating: Five smooches! (out of 5)
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Meet The Author:
JL Brooks lives with her active family along the Ohio River at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. A former columnist turned novelist, she spends most of her time engaged in women’s health issues and education. Believing everyone has a story to tell, chances are she will encourage you to tell yours.